« I Don't Wanna, But I'm Gonna | Main | That Which Doesn't Kill You Makes You Tireder and Eat Cheesecake »

June 02, 2012


I'm struggling myself, but I know it's perimenopause. The hormones swings are worse than my 13 year old's. I was in such a depression this last week I didn't know if I would ever crawl out, and today I laughed so hard I cried- over something funny, sure, but not hilarious. My emotions- all of them- are right on the surface. It's a battle to stay on some sort of even keel. I'm trying to help myself through exercise, good eating, and getting more sleep (which isn't happening). I'm hoping I don't have to take more serious measures.

Good luck. Know you're not alone in this.

I wanted to write yesterday ... but didn't. A bad therapist is a great disappointment. Fortunately, there are a lot to choose from. Find the right one for you. Even a mediocre therapist is helpful as long as you are willing to educate yourself about what's going on in your thoughts. Your therapist should never minimize your concerns or make you feel like you are wasting their time. If they do, move on. Secondly, we all make mistakes as parents. We are not all present for our kids 100% of the time yet somehow they thrive. Take care of yourself.

I'll chime in and say...
You'll know when you find the right therapist. But I think there are lots of wrong ones. The right one won't say anything stupid. If they say something stupid, the problem is them, not you!
I went through a hard time 5 years ago and saw the most caring, understanding woman. It was such a help. The first few appointments I just cried and cried and my life was awful. But the 20th session, I was my old sparkly self. Still with the same problems, but feeling better and on a better path to improving my life. Well, maybe I wasn't my sparkly self yet, but I could tell I was going to be able to be that person again.
So, give yourself the time to let this work, and to let it not work, as long as you are taking steps in the right direction. Does that make sense? But getting help is essential- unfortunately it might take a few times to find the right help. But you will get there.
You know what I wish existed? Hypnosis tapes for life's problems that are just as effective as the hypnobirthing tapes. The Hypnobabies Joyful Birth affirmations were delicious to me. I'd listen to them every morning on the way to work and feel all warm and fuzzy and like I could do anything. I really miss that CD. I want a relaxation CD to help me just deal with say, a crabby spouse, and my inability to stop eating cookies, and that library book I haven't returned.

I have been dealing with depression and anxiety for at least 20 years (I'm 35). I am so tired of it. When I am in a good place, I am *postive* that my brain will never trick me again, b/c when I am in a good place, it's all so clear and. . .good. . .and we are all up to our necks in it and doing the best we can (to paraphrase Anne Lamott), and I'm a fucking *unitarian,* for fuck's sake, and I am such a great friend/wife/mother/etc., who brings beauty to the universe.

When the depression is winning, my perception is that my husband is trying to find an out (why on earth did he marry such a trainwreck????), my kids are going to be traumatized by their mom's confusing mood swings and inability to be present (seriously? I am reading facebook statuses from people I wasn't even friends with in high school to avoid building legos?), and what the fuck do I contribute to the world except more consumption? And OMFG I suck b/c I can't commit to being a vegan.

Jo, I just think that you fucking rock. It's not often that you find people who are able to truly peel back the pretty to get to the real and I am SO FUCKING GRATEFUL for those who are able to do so (yourself and schmutzie are coming to mind, right now). I can't even tell you. I want to show up at your house with a coffee and sit and just talk, because it makes me feel like the Gelfling in The Dark Crystal ("I thought I was the only one") and holy relief to know that there are more like me. So. . .keep writing, please.

I also wanted to comment yesterday but...didn't. In my case because I'm a lurker, not a commenter, and also because I haven't experienced the same issues as you first-hand.

BUT! My mum was diagnosed as type 1 bipolar when I was nine, I'm 25 now. It's been a hard road at times, especially as we don't live near family and my dad walked out when I was 3 (whenever she was hospitalised we did go to stay with my grandparents, until I was 16 at which point I was allowed to stay at home with my younger sisters to save us moving school) so I had to grow up pretty fast.

Within a year of diagnosis however, her medication had her operating on a normal level, she was only hospitalised after that when (for one reason or another, antibiotics, flu, etc.) she wasn't absorbing her meds properly and things went a bit kerflooey, she was last in hospital 7 years ago and at the moment has never been better. She works with vulnerable people, in a mental healthcare setting, and volunteers with an ecology centre. She is looking forward to the birth of her first grand-child and is living happily with her long-term partner, the man I've called Dad since I was 17. I'm going to her house in about an hour for Sunday breakfast.

My over riding memories of my childhood are fun, laughter, and a weird sense of fulfilment. Not everything was kitten farts and rainbows but I knew my mum loved me and needed me as much as I loved and needed her. I understood she had problems, but her willingness to do anything within her power to fix those problems and remain an active and adequate parent meant the world to me. Some things are too sad to ever joke about (I'm thinking of her depressive phases, thankfully few and far between), but nowadays the rest of it is fair game for piss-taking, such as the wearing-shorts-on-her-head phase of '97, or the Great Dish Flinging of '03 (she couldn't be arsed doing the washing up). She was a far more interesting parent for her illness and it brought us closer together as a family.

I guess I'm writing all this because I picked up on the previous post stating that you felt you needed to seek help for your kids sake. Yes, you do, or you may never get to the stage where this can be a laughing matter. But don't ever think you've damaged them or scared them or hurt them beyond repair. Kids are resilient wee buggers, and you're not a bad parent because you potentially have a bit of a wonky chemical thing going on in your brain.

Now. Enough gushing. *Clap on shoulder* Get on with it

I <3 Laura!
One of the cruelest aspects of depression is the guilt. One of the reasons I like my psychiatrist is when during a relapse I was weeping over the guilt he was like, "Well that's part of the depression of course," with a wave of his hand, and I felt not like I was being dismissed but that the guilt was. THE GUILT WAS BULLSHIT.
Then he added lamotrigine to my regimen and it's all been fine since.
And please ask me anything anytime, ok?

Atta girl. Chin up. Good on you. I understand.
Curt nod your way.

Wish I could take you for a run, my virtual friend. Big hug through the computer. Sometimes the hardest things we do are the absolute best things to do.

Long-time reader (since well before your blog died and was resurrected!) and so on.

I think your other therapist was a jerk, and I'm not *that* kind of doctor, but as many other people have said, sounds like textbook bipolar.

I've had a lot of depression (better in some ways now that I'm a housewife, but worse in others) and it was really hard at first not to blame myself. And then there's the social stigma: pull yourself up by your bootstraps! What is wrong with you, that you can't (X)?

I eventually decided that nobody would tell someone having an asthma attack that they should 'just' breathe deeply, and that the wonky chemical imbalance in my brain was exactly the same. (I also have asthma. It sucks.) I found it hard, when in the grip of anxiety, depression, listlessness, etc., to see clearly how it was not my fault, or to see how it was ever getting better, but it did.

My personal story: in grad school I got more and more depressed and anxious until I couldn't sleep more than a couple hours at a time, would lay in bed for hours staring at the ceiling, and became irrationally anxious about parked cars backing up and running over me. (Parked, turned-off cars.) I knew it was crazy, totally unrealistic, whatever, but I couldn't stop myself. Family history of depression, major episodes over five+ years, etc. When I got to the psych he gently said, "We generally recommend medication... for any ONE of those indicators." Took several drugs to find ones that worked, but it was like someone finally took that couch off my chest and gave the little hamster-in-a-wheel some Xanax.

Even now I find it hard to not be anxious and frantic when my routine, especially with the children, is disrupted. As a mother of small children I have so little control over anything that when anything changes, I freak the fuck out. But... I'm hoping when they're older.... ah, heck, maybe I should start taking my nice drugs again.

Oh boy -- do I ever get the whole "character flaw" versus "is this really something out of my control" conflict!!! I lived that hell for YEARS before I finally accepted that my anxiety and OCD were NOT simply a function of a pathetically weak will. But until then? My GOD the shame and self-loathing were nearly unbearable.

Getting a diagnosis was life-changing for me -- not only because I got the proper help, but because I was finally able to separate my character from my condition.

Naming something is a powerful thing. After my diagnosis, the behaviors associated with my condition (obsessive thoughts, compulsive checking, extreme sensory sensitivity, irritability, etc.) were suddenly no longer character flaws and proof that I was a shitty mother/all-around asshat. Instead, they became symptoms of a disease that needed management and care. Once named, the disease became the enemy and I fought against that instead of expending all that energy beating myself up for having it.

I love Laura's story up yonder. :)

Hell is other people. All abuse and wgonrs are caused by other people. Other people are natural object. Stress is the natural response to natural events, not un-natural events. Best not to say that these are unnatural events, saying this in itself will will increase stress.

I agree the grapes of wrath is an amnzaig novel by John Steinbeck which was made into a movie. The book is great and it isn't inappropriate for 8th graders. Its about a family that has lost everything in the depression and about living on nothing to eat and in a home with a torn up family very sad tho

Hi Heron,In the month or so I have been frequenting R S I have aarcepipted you way of sharing. I suspect that many who regularly frequent this forum live with depression. I suspect that excessive computer use can be a hindrance to recovery I share that from personal experience. I can sit down at the computer for 15 minutes, and get up 4 hours later. During that time I consider myself connected' but I fear that it is more of a disconnection. As to a spiritual practice simplification.- Exercise (as a number of people have mentioned) This can be a brisk walk of 45 minutes of so.- Nutrition avoid anything processed. You don't have to get fancy PB J, fruit, etc- Disconnect from media. I suspect this will be a challange for you, but it could be a powerful piece. Make a decision to turn it all off for a week.- BREATH focus on your breath. Breath in for a four count, and out for a 6 (or count. Do this whenever you think about it, sitting, walking, reading, everything. In a post from yesterday I shared a Buddist meditation ( your question about trying buddhism for a week) It is by Thich Nhat Hanh in his book the miricle of mindfulness.Love and Light

The comments to this entry are closed.